I was growing tired of the same ‘ol, boring oral ingestion of my coffee. At the same time, I was made aware of the growing popularity of coffee enemas, which now had celebrity endorsement, and could done at home with the “Implant O-rama” – which sounded like something a clown doctor would use.
So, I needed to first confirm the benefits of the coffee enema.
The local barista was no help, so I perused the research to see if there was a glimmer of hope in finding any research on the benefits of a coffee enema.
My initial Google Scholar results were back in 0.06 seconds.
- 3 studies shared details of rectal burns induced by hot coffee enemas (with pictures, if interested).8,12,14
- 1 study details a lady rupturing a hole in her rectum from straining during a bowel movement – likely due to all the necrotic lesions from multiple prior burns.8
- 3 studies reported cases of colitis, or inflammation in the lining of the colon.2,7,10
- 1 study, from the 80s, shared a case blood poisoning from bacteria introduced by coffee enemas.11
- 1 study linked 2 deaths to excessive coffee enemas (0.95 Liters, 3-4 times per hour), thus depleting electrolytes, such as sodium and chloride.3
Not looking so good.
Maybe I could get a higher caffeine fix from the enema, especially for those more difficult mornings?
Nope. Researchers found that the bioavailability of caffeine obtained from the coffee enema was found to be about 3.5 times less than from drinking it.15
Okay, so maybe I could get an enhanced dose of antioxidants?
Nope. The same researchers found no beneficial effects of antioxidants or antioxidant activity after single or multiple coffee enemas.16
Well, that stinks. So, why were so many people talking about these new coffee enemas?
I found they are not so new. The earliest reference I found dated way back in 1965, with coffee enemas used as a part of Dr. Gerson Cancer Therapy.4 Allegedly, the caffeine from the coffee was absorbed (which we just saw was not the case), and could detoxify byproducts of tumor cell metabolism.11
An updated version5 states that, “Introducing a quart of boiled coffee solution into the colon will accomplish the following physiological benefits…”
The list goes on to explain several benefits, but seem to center around removal of toxins by a few different actions, such as via palmitates, which have been proposed as important factors in cancer.9,13
However, there is no research confirming such claims by using coffee enemas.
In conclusion, I am labeling this one as unlikely, as there is no current research to confirm coffee enemas work for anything beyond rectal burns or colitis.
Rather, proceed with caution and check with your doctor if considering conducting your own personal coffee enemas.
If interested in colon cancer risk reduction without coffee enemas, check out how to reduce your risk, such as from the American Cancer Society.
Finally, I apologize if I ruined your morning coffee. If not, then you can enjoy your cup of Joe with the coffee house vibes of the “Coffee Enema Song.”
- cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/six-ways-to-lower-your-risk-for-colon-cancer.html
- Choi, J. W., Jo, Y. J., Kim, S. C., Myung, S. J., Lee, H. H., Song, M. H., ... & Park, S. W. (2005). A case of coffee enema-induced colitis. Korean Journal of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 31(6), 427-431.
- Eisele, J. W., & Reay, D. T. (1980). Deaths related to coffee enemas. Jama, 244(14), 1608-1609.
- Gerson, M. A. (1965). Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases. New York, Dura Brooks.
- Gerson, C. (2001). The Gerson Therapy--Revised And Updated. Kensington.
- Goop. (2018). Wellness Detox Guide. https://goop.com/wellness/detox/the-beauty-wellness-detox-guide/
- Keum, B., Jeen, Y. T., Park, S. C., Seo, Y. S., Kim, Y. S., Chun, H. J., ... & Ryu, H. S. (2010). Proctocolitis caused by coffee enemas. The American journal of gastroenterology, 105(1), 229.
- Kim, S., Cha, J. M., Lee, C. H., Shin, H. P., Park, J. J., Joo, K. R., ... & Choi, J. H. (2012). Rectal perforation due to benign stricture caused by rectal burns associated with hot coffee enemas. Endoscopy, 44(S 02), E32-E33.
- Huber, W. W., Teitel, C. H., Coles, B. F., King, R. S., Wiese, F. W., Kaderlik, K. R., ... & Kadlubar, F. F. (2004). Potential chemoprotective effects of the coffee components kahweol and cafestol palmitates via modification of hepatic N‐acetyltransferase and glutathione S‐transferase activities. Environmental and molecular mutagenesis, 44(4), 265-276.
- Lee, C. J., Song, S. K., Jeon, J. H., Sung, M. K., Cheung, D. Y., Kim, J. I., ... & Lee, Y. S. (2008). Coffee enema induced acute colitis. The Korean journal of gastroenterology. Taehan Sohwagi Hakhoe chi, 52(4), 251-254.
- Margolin, K. A., & Green, M. R. (1984). Polymicrobial enteric septicemia from coffee enemas. Western Journal of Medicine, 140(3), 460.
- Jones, L. E., & Norris, W. E. (2010). Rectal burn induced by hot coffee enema. Endoscopy, 42(S 02), E26-E26.
- Resh, M. D. (2017). Palmitoylation of proteins in cancer. Biochemical Society Transactions, 45(2), 409-416.
- Sashiyama, H., Hamahata, Y., Matsuo, K., Akagi, K., Tsutsumi, O., Nakajima, Y., ... & Tazawa, A. (2008). Rectal burn caused by hot-water coffee enema. Gastrointestinal endoscopy, 68(5), 1008-1009.
- Teekachunhatean, S., Tosri, N., Rojanasthien, N., Srichairatanakool, S., & Sangdee, C. (2013). Pharmacokinetics of caffeine following a single administration of coffee enema versus oral coffee consumption in healthy male subjects. ISRN pharmacology, 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/147238
- Teekachunhatean, S., Tosri, N., Sangdee, C., Wongpoomchai, R., Ruangyuttikarn, W., Puaninta, C., & Srichairatanakool, S. (2012). Antioxidant effects after coffee enema or oral coffee consumption in healthy Thai male volunteers. Human & Experimental Toxicology, 31(7), 643-651.
- Picture of Barista. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nalundgaard/2620270156/
- Coffee Enema Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=zF6lEJumJY4